Who exactly is Bill Clinton, and why was he, of all the brilliant and ambitious men in his generation, the first in his class to reach the White House? Drawing on hundreds of letters, documents, and interviews, David Maraniss explores the evolution of the personality of our forty-second president from his youth in Arkansas to his 1991 announcement that he would run for the nation's highest office. In this richly textured and balanced biography, Maraniss reveals a complex man full of great flaws and great talents. First in His Class is the definitive book on Bill Clinton.
In this incisive, richly textured, fair-minded biography of Bill Clinton, which ends on the night he announced his presidential candidacy, Washington Post reporter Maraniss limns a quintessential politician, "sincere and deceptive at the same time.'' Drawing on interviews with nearly 400 people, including Clinton's closest friends, colleagues and relatives, Maraniss taps two sides of Clinton-one intelligent, empathetic, indefatigable, another petulant, tantrum-prone, indecisive, misleading, too eager to please-and declares that these components of the man are inseparable. There are revealing glimpses of Clinton the semi-bohemian Oxford antiwar activist; the casual, disorganized University of Arkansas law professor; and the Arkansas governor soliciting large contributions from corporate leaders for the public relations arm of his permanent political campaign. Maraniss, whose articles on Clinton's presidential candidacy won a Pulitzer Prize, also illuminates Clinton's pragmatic partnership with Hillary Rodham and their dependence on each other during their long haul from Arkansas to the White House.
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Simon & Schuster
February 07, 1996
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